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ELK POINT, S.D. -- Terex Load King permanently closed its trailer manufacturing plant in Elk Point eliminating 73 positions at the largest employer in  the southeast South Dakota.

"We did an evaluation of our product lines and decided to exit the trailer business as part of an overall strategic plan to focus on our core aerial business,'' Melinda Zimmerman-Smith, marketing communications manager for Terex Aerial Work Platforms, said in an interview.

Terex Aerial Work Platforms is a division of Westport, Conn.-based Terex Corp., a global manufacturer with 2007 net sales of more than $9.1 billion. The Elk Point facility was the only trailer plant under the Redmond, Wash.-based platform division, whose core business is the manufacturing of construction equipment.

Zimmerman-Smith said the Elk Point employees -- 57 active and 16 on temporary layoff -- were told this morning of the decision. To comply with a federal law requiring a 60-day notice of a major plant closing, the workers will stay on the payroll for another two months. A small number will be active at the plant through early February, she said.

The plant's production workers are represented by the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America Local 1187

Read more, including local reaction to the closing, online later today and in print in the Journal on Friday.

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